Jay-Z performing at Carnegie Hall with a full-orchestra and the Roots' Questlove on drums (Photo: Gabriela Herman)
NEW YORK -- What better way for Jay-Z to celebrate an iconic performance at Carnegie Hall than sharing laughs, glasses filled with Ace of Spades champagne, and chicken wings with Nas? Last night (Mon. Feb. 6), after the first of two charity concerts at Carnegie Hall, benefiting United Way of New York City and Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, Jay-Z  toasted at his NYC nightclub, The 40/40 club, with his wife, new mother Beyoncé, Nas, BET's president of programming, Stephen Hill, and more.
Beyoncé made her first appearance since the birth of hers and Jay-Z's daughter, Blue Ivy, exactly a month last night (Jan. 7). The upstairs of the newly re-opened club filled with whispers of how good Bey' looked as she headed towards VIP with her mother, Tina Knowles. Bey' chatted with Roc Nation's Rich Kleiman as Jay-Z shared laughs with Nas over wings and Ace of Spades. Shawn "Pecas" Costner of Def Jam was planted in the VIP area.
Journos spotted in the crowd included Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston and Rolling Stone's Jeff Rosenthal.
Beyonce made her first appearance since the birth of hers and Jay-Z's daughter, Blue Ivy, exactly a month last night clad in an Alice Temperly dress, Alexander McQueen clutch and Louboutin shoes (Photo: Beyonce.com)
Nas joined Jay-Z and Alicia Keys on stage earlier in the night, performing both of their NYC anthems: "Empire State of Mind" and "N.Y. State of Mind." Jay stepped off stage as Nas and Alicia Keys performed his Billboard 100 hit, "If I Ruled the World."
Backed by a full orchestra, singers Bilal and Bridget Kelly, and The Roots' Questlove on the drums, Jay-Z managed to keep nearly all of the audience members on their feet for all of the approximately 2-hour performance. Jay performed vintage to classics, including "Hard Knock Life," "99 Problems," "Run this Town," and more.
BET's Stephen Hill, who walked into the 40/40 club shortly after Jay-Z, was a fan of Jay-Z's "Roc Boys" performance. "When I heard the horns on 'Roc Boys' I was like, 'This is my kind of show," Hill told Billboard.biz.
One song in particular that awed the audience and touched Jay-Z himself, when performing last night, was his heartfelt, candid single of his daughter, titled, "Glory." The Neptunes-produced track contains vulnerable coos of Blue Ivy. "I didn't think I was gonna make it through that one. That was tough," Jay said after performing the song.
Now that's something to celebrate.
Jay-Z in a Carnegie Hall state of mind (Photo: Gabriela Herman)
Big Pimpin Goes Uptown: Last night's set list (Photo: Erika Ramirez)